They both enter with conviction and I feel that this will scare my youngster. What would you suggest?

MARK WHITEHOUSE SAYS: You must make sure the first few stages of introduction to water are careful and confident, and that your new training partner does not get out of his depth too soon.

Find a very shallow area so that your gun dog can run about and paddle with confidence.

Once you can see he has no reservations about this new experience, and that he is enjoying himself, give him a few retrieves with a small or medium dummy.

In each instance still keep assessing his development and make sure that he does not show any resistance or hesitation.

This should be kept much the same for the first three to four visits and if there are no signs of panic or hesitancy, move onto areas where the water would be a bit deeper.

Encourage him to enter this deeper area without giving him any retrieves.

Encourage him to enter the water and swim without the risk of panic and this can be achieved by throwing a few pebbles into the water’s edge and allowing your gundog to take his first plunge.

If he looks confident, throw him a small dummy and encourage him to retrieve it whilst giving him lots of praise as he picks it and on his return.

This exercise should be developed gradually over another three to four visits until he is entering the water freely, swimming with confidence and retrieving with conviction.

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